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Non Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease and Hypothyroidism: How's your thyroid 'killing' your liver

Since 1990's researchers begun to see an association between hypothyroidism and development of liver pathologies.

The liver, being the detoxification station of the body, is one of the first organ that's affected by drugs, food and alcohol, and toxins in general. You would expect liver problems in alcoholic patients, or drug abusers. What about people abstaining from any recreational drug and alcohol?

To answer this question medical researchers create a new term, Non Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease, to describe liver injury caused by other reasons named: insulin resistance, overweight and obesity, hyperglycaemia, high concentration of fat in blood.

Insulin resistance is the cause of many diseases nowadays. Once you begin to accumulate belly fat, well, that's insulin resistance. Junk food, soft drinks, processed sugars... these all lead to insulin resistance. Insulin resistance leads to diabetes and as you can see there is a pattern, exposing your liver to damage.

However, did you notice that the some signs and symptoms experienced by hypothyroidism are also present in Non Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease? naming them: fatigue, obesity or overweight, hyperglycaemia, increase in lipids in your blood (dislipidemia) and insulin resistance.

Both liver and thyroid depend on each other. Thyroid allows liver cells (hepatocytes) to work properly, it allows the removal of fats and increases the detoxifying capabilities of the liver . The liver, on the other hand, allows the conversion of T4 into T3, the latter being the active from of the hormone.

Clearly, you can see that if the thyroid decrease its function the liver will be severely affected. Fats will start accumulating causing steatosis; cholesterol levels increases as a results of less efficient hepatocytes. The accumulation of cholesterol can cause gallbladder stones.

Even more problematic, is the following development of insulin resistance as a consequence of increase body weight. It is well known by everyone that one of the most common symptom of hypothyroidism is increase in body weight and decrease in metabolism.

We must act by protecting our liver from damage once we are diagnosed with hypothyroidism, in the following ways:

1) do not rely only on drugs to treat your hypothyroidism. Drugs won't make you improve in the long run, but the opposite.

2) physical activity & diet is very important, I would say that it is even more important than any drugs

3) vitamin E & selenium. Vitamin E & Selenium are amazing detoxifiers. Vitamin E for the liver and Selenium for your thyroid. However, vitamin E should only be taken for certain periods because it can be toxic.

Suggested dosages are:

Vitamin E 260mg and Selenium 200-300mcg a day.

1. Gluvic Z, Zaric B, Resanovic I, Obradovic M, Mitrovic A, Radak D, et al. Link between metabolic syndrome and insulin resistance. Curr Vasc Pharmacol (2017) 15(1):30–9.10.2174/157016111466616100716451

2. Casavalle PL, Lifshitz F, Romano LS, Pandolfo M, Caamano A, Boyer PM, et al. Prevalence of dyslipidemia and metabolic syndrome risk factor in overweight and obese children. Pediatr Endocrinol Rev (2014) 12(2):213–23

3. Vyakaranam S, Vanaparthy S, Nori S, Palarapu S, Bhongir AV. Study of insulin resistance in subclinical hypothyroidism. Int J Health Sci Res (2014) 4(9):147–53.

4. Erion MD, Cable EE, Ito BR, Jiang H, Fujitaki JM, Finn PD, et al. Targeting thyroid hormone receptor-beta agonists to the liver reduces cholesterol and triglycerides and improves the therapeutic index. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A (2007) 104(39):15490–5.10.1073/pnas.0702759104

5. Gierach M, Junik R. The effect of hypothyroidism occurring in patients with metabolic syndrome. Endokrynol Pol (2015) 66(4):288–94.10.5603/EP.2015.0036

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